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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  November 26, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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... this is access america, live from new york. i am tony harris with a look at todd's top stories. holiday travel, as they just mentioned, is rough in parts of the country. sevecep wintry weather, snow and sleet toward the east. thousands of flights have been delayed or cancelled. the supreme court will hear another case involving president obama's healthcare reform law. justices will consider whether corporations whose owners oppose abortion on religious grounds must provide coverage for birth control to employees. afghan president hamid karzai is making new demands today including release of afghan prisoners from guantanamo bay before he will sign the u.s.
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security packet. karzi's demands are prompting threats from the u.s. to withdraw all of its forces after 2014. an overloaded sail boyt carrying people from haiti overturned in the bahamas. video released by the u.s. coast guard shows about 100 haitians clinging to a boat, believed to have capitalsized after it struck a reef in rough water. about 110 people have been rescued so far including 19 women. and those are the headlines of this hour. tony harris. more news. "inside story" is next. >> the u.s. plays hardball with hamid karzai. sign the troop deal or we are out. i am ray suarez. >> that's the insi"inside story"
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>> america's longest war is almost over, but the transition to the next phase in the u.s.-afghanistan relationship involves a difficult diplomatic dance. the united states negotiated a deal called "the bilateral security accord" which would keep most troops in the country when nato's 75,000 leave next year. the deal hit a signnag. afghan president karzai presented a new last-minute set of demands. on this edition of "inside story" we will discuss america's future in afghanistan. first, this background: >> afghan president hamid karzai again refused to sign the bilateral security agreement on monday. instead, adding more items to a growing list of demands. it was during a last-minute meeting with u.s. national
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security advisor susan rice that karzi insisted the u.s. would need to start peace talks with the taliban and release 17 after gangs from guantanamo bay before the bilateral security agreement got his signature. but rice said negotiations are over. >> if the agreement isn't signed promptly, what i said to the president is we would have no choice. we would be compelled by necessity, not by our preference, to have to begin to plan for the prospect that we will not be able to to keep our troops here because they will not be invited because the bsa will not have been signed. then the nature of our partnership and the investments that we have made will be more difficult. >> the meeting with rice came one day after the afghan liter surprised both countries by delaying the bsa's package into law despite nods of approval from the loya jirga's assembly whose endorsement he sought for
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a long timi a long time. tra tra . a loya juryiirga should dec whether or n whether to give the immunity or not. >> he said he shouldn't sign it. his suggestionsor in april's national election should. he also told the loya jirga assembly on sunday, the u.s. needs to do more to stop raids on afghan homes. >> while we are ready to give basis for americans on our soil, we have a condition concerning security. security from today onwards, me meaning from now on american forces are banned from launching operations on afghan houses. >>reporter: >> for months, the u.s. and afghanistan have gone back and forth over the terms of u.s. military presence in the country after nato's pull-out in 2014. talks have focused on u.s. procedures for training and
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mentoring the national army for a final handover. afghanistan is still a dangerous place. just this week, a roadside bomb killed two children in the south and six policemen were found dead after being abducted by the taliban. the pentagon says more than $8,000,000,000 in assistance is in jeopardy if an agreement is not signed soon. >> joining us now to discuss the latest twist in the afghanistan story are ali akmed alagi, the interior minister from 2003 to 2005. david sedny, former deputy assistant minister of defense and former u.s. ambassador thomas pickering. thank you for joining me. david, let me start with you. we will talk later in the program about the afghan interests as this year unfolds. what's the united states' interest? what are the specifics thbottom
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country is looking for as it proceeds to extricate itself from afghanistan? >> our number 1 bottom line after 2014 and in 2001 when we went in was terrorism. al-qaeda still exists. the threat of a resurgent al-qaeda is something we can't accept. so we need to make sure that afghanistan is never again a haven for terrorism. >> ambassador pickering, how would you answer that question? >> i would agree with david that terrorism is an issue. i think that we have a difficult problem because over the years, we have created several impressions or misimpressions about why we are in afghanistan. one of those is the swiss democracy misimpression. another of those -- >> say what that misimpression is. >> i thought that shorthand would work. that misimpression, i think, is that we are somehow there to assure that afghanistan becomes a modern, functioning democratic state as opposed to finding
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ways, i think, to work within the construct of afghanistan, to try to help put the situation as we leave it on a more stable footing than when we found it. and i think that great nations who intervene are always, i think, driven by the notion that they would like to leave a place better off than when they found it. and this is a challenge. but i don't think it's in national interest, ray. and i would put it a little bit differently than i would put the terror question. i would like to do everything i could to keep the pressure on. i would like to see, obviously, the future relationship with afghanistan be one where afghans will take the primary responsibility and we will do everything we can to support them. and i suspect that that's a more likely approach. we have not been successfully totally in eliminating al-qaeda from pakistan but we have done a
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good job in getting the leadership. i think it is that erosion of al-qaeda that is more likely to be the reality. i would hope for elimination, but i have my doubts it's within the range of our possibilities. >> so david, a less vulnerable, a less insecure afghanistan is one that's less likely to be a danger to the united states in the future? >> an afghanistan that has the security capabilities to defend itself both from enemies internally and domestic. and we have done that we have worked with to build an afghan army that has been surprisingly successful over the past 12 months. after gans now lead almost all security. over 98% of security operations in afghanistan are led by afghans. 90 plus -- 99% plus of the fighting is done by after gans. they are ready to do it. but at the same time, assembassador pickering just said, when great nations do
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things, they also incur responsibilities. so we have built a very capable military. if we were to leave, have that military on its own in the current government structure of afghan, it could go a number of different ways and most are bad. i think not just for maintaining the ability to control the terrorist networks in afghan that the afghan army has now but also ensuring that afghanistan does not become a factor for instability in the region and beyond, we need to stay there. >> could i finish the answer to the question because david touched on it. and i was about to go to it. i think that we have to be careful that afghanistan in the region, particularly with respect to pakistan does not become, in fact, a serious issue of destabilization. i think it's important. i won't say more about that because i have already monopolized much of the talking. >> professor jalali, if the after gangs in position of leadership and responsibility in
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your country were eavesdropping on these two americans speculating, would that sound familiar to them? would they say, okay. we understand that. >> that's what we want, too? >> i think they would understand that the concern is that they cannot expect that they will be supported forever by the international community but all they want is to build that capacity that they can take everything in their own hands and be responsible for the security and future of the country. however, they need a lot of help. i think the afghan security forces have come a long way since 2001. now, the question is how to sustain that capacity. i think it will take time. in the afghan national security forces are now an incredible force in afghanistan. but the real test will come when everybody else leaves the country, whether the support will continue or not. i think the security forces do
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not have to defeat the taliban by 2014 or after that. if they can ensure the survival of the state in the institution, the achievement will remain over the last 12 years, i think the less the opportunity will have -- will be presented, will be had by the opposition to prevail. so, now, the question is whether the afghans will expect the continuous support from the international -- not only the military forces but financial, political, psychological, and, also, some kinds of moral support of the international community that will help them build their capacity to stand on their own two feel feet. >> we will talk about the complicated road toward getting to that departure day when we come back. we are going to take a short break and continue our conversation on america's future in afghanistan in a minute.
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this is insi"inside story."
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welcome back to "inside story." i am ray suarez. the united states has threatened to pull all forces out of afghanistan in 2014 if afghan president hamid karzai does not sign the negotiated bilateral security accord. we are continuing our conversation now with ali akmed alajalili, the enter minister of afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 >> david sedney and former united states ambassador thomas pickering. thanks to all of you for being with me today. professor, continue with you, because this is not -- -- this has not been an easy couple of weeks in the afghan-american relationship. right now, the bilateral agreement that is the supposed to set out the rules in the coming years is having a tough time getting signed in kabul. from your intelligence, what's
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going on? i think you have seen the anonymous support ---un an muss support of the loya jirga for this bilateral security agreement to be signed by president karzi. also, the society in the tribal community everywhere you see. >> what's the problem? >> on the other hand -- yes. i think already some concerns with karzi. i think there are four reasons. first of all, his perception that if he drags his feet, he will present himself as a more independent leader. in order to polish his credentials as an intent
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international leader, he is trying to make sure that everybody sees it, that he is not the one that will just sheepishly support this agreement. he will eventually sign it because he believes this is something that will help the country. but he will do this. on the other hand, he has suspicions, not now but from the past. he believes the united states can bring stability to afghanistan. also, he believes that the united states can pressure pakistan more in order to cooperate and bring security aftto afghanistan and bring the opposition to kind of a peace agreement. this is his perception. he believes as long as he has this leverage, he believes that the u.s. needs more of this agreement than after gangs do. this is perception. he believes as long as he has this leverage, maybe he will get some more from the united states
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by dragging his feet for some time. >> well, what he got, ambassador pickering, was national security advisor rice saying the u.s. has no choice but to prepare for withdrawal if he doesn't sign. is that a realistic option, the way the u.s. walked away when an agreement could not be reached in the final stages there? >> i think that the mission of susan is to be tough, to say there is no more give in the u.s. side, to say that the deal is the deal and it's been negotiated. in the way, it's the complement to what the professor just told us about the karzai position, in a sense that, my hope is, and i think it's in the u.s. national interest that we sign the agreement as soon as we possibly can. we have sat here and talked about the u.s. interests in afghanistan.
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the professor talked about the importance of a continued relationship with the united states and the afghan people are tilted in that direction. not just one or two of us talking about it. i think now the problem is having sat down the red lines, to see whether, in fact, there is any potential here for whatever kind of give is necessary for moving ahead before the afghan elections and the delay that would seriously, i think, disrupt our possibility, in a planning sense, to be able to stay on. and i think that is that conversation susan put forward. >> david, i don't often channel donald rumsfeld but as i was listening to him answer this question, i was thinking, sometimes you just have to deal
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with the afghan president you have rather than the one you wish you had. and i wonder if the united states is already looking past karzai, that this is a bump in the road, a last-minute complication, but since he is going to leave in the spring, in theory, sur worried about who is taking over. >> what we should be doing. karzai is a lame duck. what's happened over the last several days is a repeat of what's happened many times repeatedly over the last 10 years where we have put pressure on him and he is turning it into a test of wills where we have to be tough. it's a path we have trod before. it's not worked very well for us. it's not gotten us what we need. >> has it got edge him anything? >> it often has, which is why he keeps repeating that gave behavior. i think we fell into that trap this time.
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the dualing press statements by president karzai, by the white house actually don't reflect very well on either side in my view and don't help either side get to their interests. it's clear as professor jalali was saying as the vast numbern of leading figures coming together, they want the bilateral security agreement and they want it now. the united states is ready to sign it. we have the capability to implement it. we sent an -- set an art fibl deadline. didn't have to be the timing we did and now we are sticking by it to preserve our own pride. we need to let the after gans handle the karzai issue, look to the future and i think everything will work out okay. if we try to a couple of things rather than rachet them up. >> we will take a break. stay with us. this is insi"inside story."
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>> al jazeera america is the only news channel that brings you live news at the top of every hour. >> here are the headlines at this hour. >> only on al jazeera america. power of the people until we restore our freedoms a to the new
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aftergan forces americans are thinking is there a good enough army that the united states can leave with a clear head and these forces and this new governing system can run the place? >> i think there ose are two
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separate questions. are these forces good enough? i think the answer is clearly yes. our military watching them over the last year when they have had the lead says they can do the job. the afghan military has improved every day over the last two years and a military in the end is only as good as the government above it. and that's where the question lies and our focus should be on getting past this issue with the bsa and working with the afghans to ensure that thetrition from president karzi to whoever comes out of the election process in the lead is a smooth and effective one that afghanistan has an effective governance in the future, one that is able to run a military. we have built a really strong effective military. now, we have to make sure there is a government that can control that military. >> professor jalali, when david sydney says the army is only as good as the government it works for, the world is full of countries where the army is one
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of the only coherent constittexts in society. is there a danger of that in afghanistan? >> understand you cannot expect the army to do everything in afghanistan and there is a very solid progress and other aspects of transition. there is political transition, economictrition, security transition and the mother of all of these trigs is political transition. if the election in april takes place, if the outcome is seen by the afghan people as legitmat, credible and fair enough that people believe, okay, they can live with the outcome, i think this did help bring stability to afghanistan. then, the international forces can be encouraged to help the country. the security forces will have a hope, something to look forward to it, and the afghan people will mobilize around this
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government. but if the election goes bad, i think maybe it will be very difficult to even hold the security forces together. on the corner from where we are sitting is a crowded subway station, busy place. if we stopped americans on their way to their train and they asked you whether, what the united states just did in your country, worked and was worth it, could you reassure them now in the eve in the end of 2013? >> yes because if you compare 2001 to 2013, now, you have gone a million light years. excuse me -- from thatpox. if you compare only these two dates, then you will see how much the country has changed and i don't haved. now, the and improved. now the question is how to achieve that that we have made. >> that view, i think, is not
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widely shared. >> which one? >> the optimistic view. i work its not -- >> is that because of a lack of understanding or information? >> maybe too much information, too much negative information? >> i would say too much negative information. let me go ahead with one point. i think we need to be conscious of the point, the president stand-off has more dangers than just the non-presence of u.s. forces at the end of 2014 back to vietnam. as you know, the congress, when it looked like the north was doing well, it looked like the south was crumbling, we were there but not in strong force. i work if we are out militarily with this fractious and divided congress, it will be a very strong impetus to cut funding. and i think that professor
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jalali would agree with me and david that to a significant extent, the continued good performance of the afghan national security forces depends upon continued support by us and others. if that continues and if the attendant civilian aid disappears, then both of the pillars, of improving governanceance and delivery of governmental services and change is fraught as that has been with difficulty and the pillar of support for afghan national security force, i think, will go very quickly. our boys are not there. we have finished the job. we have done it for 10 years. we have done as much as we possibly can. it's now over to the afghans and they have to stabbed on their own two feet. >> david, you get the last word. >> i think there is a huge
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amount of misinformation in the united states about what's going on afghanistan now. last week, former first lady, laura bush and hillary clinton shared a meeting of american afghan women over at georgetown university. the women who were there were unanimous in wanting the united states there. they were unanimous in saying that over the last 12 years, afghanistan has made such an incredible amount of progress for young people, for women. it's no longer the country we went into three or or that was 3 or four years ago. the united states has a national responsibility to help those people who we have helped this far. if we leave now, we would be abandoning and leaving a security vacuum that would come back to haunt us. >> thanks. that brings us to the ends of "inside story." in washington, i am ray suarez.
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